Alcatraz - Live: Trockeneis zum Frühstück. 1980 Germany

Alcatraz were always an interesting lot, never staying in one musical place too long. By the time of this live album, the band had released a Krautrock classic (Vampire State Building) and a politrock album. So naturally this is a jazz fusion work... All new material, it is in effect a brand new studio release and the recording is stellar. Perhaps most extraordinary is how adept Alcatraz are at the style. Though it must be said that Vampire State Building had jazz qualities, it was nowhere near this obvious. There are two standout leads here: Rainier Hansen on sax and flute - and steady member Klaus Holst on guitar. Hansen, in general, has a very pleasing tone concerning his saxophone with a bit of the psychedelic similar to Xhol Caravan would deploy on occasion. At times he gets a little too loose, but pulls back just at the moment of annoyance. His flute playing is exemplary throughout. Best of all though is Holst, who apparently was completely unaware of any musical trends since 1971. You will have to look long and hard in 1980 for the kind of fiery psychedelic leads he lays down. It's really extraordinary, and reminds me of the second Moira album concerning the out-of-its-time sound. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find a modern retro band that "gets it" like Holst does here. The songs are all well written and melodic and not just exercises in solo jamming. The latter enhances the former that is to say.

The cover itself is telling. While the band is sitting in the kitchen enjoying a meal of ice(?), there are albums perched up against the wall. Among them include Soft Machine Third, Bitches Brew, and Hendrix's Axis' Bold as Love. And there you have it.

A great album that is still largely unknown due to a lack of any quality reissue (limited edition home computer pressings of 20 CD-R's are not quality reissues).

Personal collection
LP: 1980 private

No legit reissues exist as I update this post from the CDRWL (with a fresh listen).

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